An act of love and mercy: Remembering the dead on All Souls Day
by Carlo P. Canares
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte (1 November) -- We are all called to practice mercy towards others. "Be merciful even as your Father is merciful," Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel of Luke. These words are a call to action. Pope John Paul II has said "man attains to the merciful love of God, His mercy, to the extent that he himself is interiorly transformed in the spirit of that love towards his neighbor."
One great spiritual act of mercy that we should perform is to pray for the dead. The Church observes All Souls Day as the living remember their dearly departed.
The Lord asks us, the living, to continuously offer prayers, masses and sacrifices for departed souls. By drawing from the treasury of the Church, we can run to their aid and immerse them in the abyss of God's mercy. "Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice," Jesus told St Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy. In fact, the Lord encouraged her to remember the souls in purgatory. He told her: "Enter into purgatory often, because (souls) need you there (from the Diary of St Faustina, entry 1738).
St Faustina once saw in a vision the souls in purgatory, and she saw their great need for our assistance. She wrote in her diary (entry 20):
"I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames which were burning them did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in purgatory. The souls call her "The Star of the Sea." She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. (I heard an interior voice) which said,'My mercy does not want this, but Justice demands it.' Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
"All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven."
We, the living, have great power to assist the dead by imploring God's infinite mercy for them. Not just during this day, but always - as we receive the holy sacraments, pray, perform sacrifices - we must be in communion with the suffering souls. (PIA) [top]